Remember the time the hideous vampire 'The Master' taunted Buffy with the line: "You're dead!," to which Buffy replied, "I may be dead, but I'm still pretty. Which is more than I can say for you."?
Well Buffy The Vampire Slayer the TV show has been dead for 11 years now, but is it still pretty? 20th Century Fox think so, and they've recently remastered the series and converted the original, square-like (4:3) format into widescreen (16:9) to run on the network Pivot.
But for that very same reason, Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon, disagrees with this move. Whedon took to twitter to express his dislike at the shiny new format, revealing:
Does Whedon Have A Point?
Standard (4:3) format is converted into widescreen (16:9) by cropping sections from the top and bottom of the original picture. You can seen the effect of the cropping in this Youtube video uploaded by the Buffy fan account SunnydaleArchives:
This facebook note posted from the fan page Buffy the Vampire Slayer HD/Blu-ray is perhaps the best analysis of the differences between the two versions. Here are some snippets:
In this frame, the image looks brighter and cleaner in the 16:9 version, but much more of the shot is viewable on it's original counterpart. Xander's head doesn't even make the cut!
Here again we have a much brighter, more defined image on the revamped version, but many fans believe the dark, gloomy atmosphere of the original was what made the show so good in the first place.
In this shot the widescreen version has been cleansed of the saturated, dream-like, blue-ish hue viewable in the original. Which do you think looks more menacing?
Whedon Makes His Feelings Clear
This isn't the first time Whedon has stated that Buffy is better viewed in the standard (4:3) format. He left a note within the original release of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer DVD boxset, explicitly stating:
"Adding space to the sides simply for the sake of trying to look more cinematic would betray the very exact mise-en-scene I was trying to create. I am a purist, and this is the purest way to watch Buffy. I have resisted the effort to letterbox Buffy from the start and always will, because that is not the show we shot."
He didn't mince his words did he!?
For what it's worth, I prefer the 16:9 version. It looks brighter, wider, and better than ever. More importantly, it's friendlier and more accessible to a newer, much younger fan base.